S.D.M. – Sociedade de Desenvolvimento da Madeira, SA is responsible, on behalf of the Regional Government of Madeira (Portugal), for the management, administration and promotion of the International Business Centre of Madeira (IBC). These responsibilities include the construction of the infrastructure in the Industrial Free Trade Zone of Madeira and the promotion of MAR – Madeira’s International Shipping Register.

Since the beginning of its activity as the concessionaire of Madeira’s IBC, S.D.M. has established a network of correspondents and representatives in several countries with the aim of providing full local support to investors interested in setting up and investing in Madeira’s IBC. Presently, S.D.M. has representative offices in Italy, U.K., Germany, Greece, USA, France, Norway, Monaco, Switzerland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands and Argentina.

Leonel Silva , the IT Manager at S.D.M. and the person directly responsible for the global policy, implementation, development and administration of all IT resources of the company, tell us about their migration to Google Apps:

S.D.M. goes Google

For many years, we had a Communigate Pro server which had on average a 85% uptime and demands more then 15 hours per month just for maintenance. We offer at the most 10GB as email quota and we fought spam with some difficulties (with a solution called Sophos). At that time we performed daily backups for all the accounts to prevent data losses and we had to install, support and keep updated all mail clients (Apple Mail.app, MS Outlook).

When considering all that, our growing needs and the few IT resources available to support all the company departments (from Administration Board to Sales and Marketing, passing by the Administrative or the Industrial Free Trade Zone Departments), we realized we needed a change.

After a detailed evaluation of the enterprise Google offering and also considering other high profile companies experience, our management had no doubt that Google will help us to better communicate as a team and with our business partners.

So, we decided to switch to Google Apps for Business which offered a far more reliable, secure, integrated and cost-effective way for our employees to communicate from their desks or on the road. Easily managed by a small IT team, Google Apps allows us to achieve our top 3 goals:

  • High availability and security
  • Cost savings (releasing budget and equipments to other areas)
  • CRM integration

It took us less then a month to validate the whole process and to prepare the transition for the entire company (including CRM data migration, specific developments and integration).

During the entire project we have been supported by our Google Apps partner, TopSolutions, who guided us trough an effective and quick setup assuring the integration with our productive process. In fact TopSolutions has been a valuable partner and provider of high quality cloud services. With a very efficient support infrastructure, TopSolutions was a decisive factor on our transition to the cloud and the adoption of services like Google Apps, Google Postini and Zoho CRM.

Getting everyone transitioned onto a new platform can be a challenge for any organization, but the learning curve for Google Apps was almost non-existent, since most of our users was already private Gmail users. We have provided less then 1 hour of training per user, basically to clarify the CRM integration and all the advantages of the available collaboration tools.

Throughout the year our Sales and Marketing staff participate in several international promotional missions both in European and American countries, and Google Apps provides the accessibility that our mobile users demands.

We experience fantastic productivity gains and all our users are happy with Google Apps high availability and the outstanding easy to use tools. 99% of our users only access Google Apps trough the web interface, and that makes our life easier because we have no need to update or upgrade any desktop email client. This not only has helped reduce IT management time, but it also has given us a whole new level of internal and external collaboration (with our clients and providers).

Google Postini is also a must have. We have no more problems with spam or virus and we have a great real time and automatic archiving solution with no need to manually backup anything.

Google Apps has been a huge win for us and Google just keeps on giving us great new features, like the brand new Google Drive.

If you want to know more about Google Apps for Business click here.

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